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Thread: Need a 5/3/1 routine for my fiance

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    Need a 5/3/1 routine for my fiance

    My fiance has been doing squats and deadlifts for the last 8 months. She is a natural at them...very small, around 5'4" 115-120ish and she can deep squat 135 for 5 reps and deadlift about the same. She noticed my solid progress on my 5/3/1 lately and now she wants to do the scheduled deload week is perfect for that time of the month . The only issue is that, while her deadlifts/squats are pretty good, she has no upper body she cannot even start pressing with an empty bar. I was thinking of putting her on a 3 day a week program...Monday will be 5/3/1 squats and Friday will be 5/3/1 deadlifts with the appropriate accessories (leg press, good mornings, etc) and abs. I just have no clue what to have her doing on the Wednesday day. Since she has such little upper body strength I was simply thinking of putting pushups/pullups on Mon/Fri and Wednesday she can do some other upper body work. What do you think?

    Something like this

    5/3/1 squats
    Leg press 5x10
    Knee pushups (she cant even do one regular)
    Machine pullups (she cannot do one pullup)

    DB Shoulder press
    Seated rows
    Tricep extension
    Bicep curl

    5/3/1 deadlift
    5x10 good mornings
    Knee pushups
    Machine pullups

  2. #2
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    If she insists on doing 5/3/1, I'd just have her do it As Perscribed in the book. If she's not strong enough to press the bar in bench and overheads, just start her off with dumbbells. Stick with the boring template, it will give her more practice on those lifts.

    But, given her lack of strength, and if strength is her goal, I'd look into a routine that uses some form of linear progression.

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  3. #3
    LittleJake JSully's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Phoenix, AZ
    if she needs to increase in pressing strength then you would want that to be a focus point for a day.. why would you want her doing pushups AFTER squats if she can't do a pushup to begin with? She needs 100% of her energy to focus towards that.

    I would suggest RDLs as an accessory for legs on monday in addition to squats and leg presses and I personally would have her doing front squats instead of leg presses as that will train her core for better stabilization all around.

    If you were ONLY going with a 3day/week program then on wednesdays I woudl have her do this:
    Flat DB bench
    Pulldowns/Machine pullups
    Knee pushups
    Overhead DB presses
    DB rows

    Skip the pressing and pullups on friday and go with the triceps and biceps there. Have her use the 5/3/1 method with dumbbells for the flat presses and once she can use 30s in each hand, get her under the bar and use dumbbells as an accessory.

    my $.02
    Jake Sullivan
    6' - 280lbs - 29yrs old - Professional Highland Games Athlete
    curently off-season
    HG training log = road to pro
    youtube channel =

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